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Northern Ireland: Multi-cultural association forced to sell up after race hate attacks

Aftermath of arson attack at BMCA, April 2022 © BMCA

Belfast Multi-Cultural Association to sell premises after repeated arson attacks

This is a dark day for Belfast’ – Patrick Corrigan

Amnesty International has said it is a “dark day for Belfast” after the city’s multi-cultural association announced that they had listed their building on Donegall Pass for sale, after repeated arson attacks which left them fearful for the lives of their volunteers.

The former church, which Belfast Multi-Cultural Association used as a foodbank and for other community services, was gutted as a result of an arson attack on January 14, 2021. In April 2022, just after work had finished on structural repairs following the first attack, it was torched again.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Director, said:

“This is a dark day for Belfast.

“It is heart-breaking that, out of fear for their lives, the good people of Belfast Multi-Cultural Association have now been forced to sell up.

Frankly, it is a disaster for our society that racist thugs have succeeded in burning them out — and have done so with total impunity.

“Racist hate crime is at an all-time high in Northern Ireland. Police figures show that 90% of racist hate crimes in Northern Ireland go unpunished. In that respect, the arson attacks on Belfast Multi-Cultural Association are sadly no different to the hundreds of racist crimes which are inflicted every year.

“Minority ethnic communities here have every right to feel let down by the police.

I know that BMCA will build again. Wherever they make their new home, we will be blessed with their presence, as is the whole city of Belfast.”

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